Redelineation report will result in increased ethnic segregation, group says

Tindak Malaysia (TM) mapping adviser Danesh Prakash Chacko said it is important to remember that the upcoming general election will be based on ever-evolving political preferences in Malaysia. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Tindak Malaysia (TM) mapping adviser Danesh Prakash Chacko said it is important to remember that the upcoming general election will be based on ever-evolving political preferences in Malaysia. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, March 29 — The Election Commission’s redelineation report will result in increased ethnic segregations as it packs different races into different constituencies, a group has said.

Tindak Malaysia (TM) mapping adviser Danesh Prakash Chacko said this occured in Perak where Malay voters were moved into Barisan Nasional territories.

“Chinese voters are packed into Pakatan Harapan seats, while Indian voters are packed into marginally BN areas,” he told the Malay Mail.

Danesh said the Indian voters in Perak could be used to swing the tide, as certain seats have significant number of Indians.

“Another factor to swing the vote would be the Orang Asli, who traditionally favour BN, even though their areas are not affected by the redelineation exercise,” he said.

One notable Perak state seat affected by “racial re-engineering” is Tebing Tinggi, currently held by DAP.

Danesh said the seat, formerly made up of mostly Chinese voters has now become a Malay-majority seat.

“Similarly in Kedah, 35 of the 36 state assembly seats before redelineation were Malay majority. The exercise has touched nearly a quarter, or at least nine seats in the state.

“Those nine seats have further increased the Malay votes in Kedah, ranging from zero to five per cent while in Selangor, the packing of Chinese voters can be seen as geared towards urbanised Opposition areas,” he said.

Despite this, Danesh said it is important to remember that the upcoming general election will be based on ever-evolving political preferences in Malaysia.

“Considering that the exercise began in 2016 when Pakatan Harapan and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was just forming up, things would have changed since then.

“Effectively the redelineation would have been done on past political preferences, which may not necessarily apply to GE14,” he said.

Based on Tindak Malaysia's second proposal calculation, Danesh said there is a possibility  for the federal government to be formed with just 33 per cent of the popular vote.

“This is clearly unrectified or aggravated malapportionment, and we are against it as the Federal Constitution requires seats to have an equal amount of population.

“For example in Selangor the urban and rural divide may not necessarily be applicable since it is a developed state, compared to Sabah and Sarawak where some leeway can be given to the voters population,” he said.

Danesh proposed a return to the Merdeka-era of delineation, with a 15 per cent plus or minus state average for the Peninsular, and a 25 per cent plus or minus state average for Sabah and Sarawak.

“Doing so could rectify malapportionment, and also address the issue of gerrymandering in the country,” he said.